Good morning, Bulletin readers. Today we bring you developments in two legal cases concerning the National Rifle Association, and word that the feds may finally catch up to the states that have already taken action against a product that can make common rifles deadlier.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
NEW from THE TRACE: The NRA and Lockton Affinity are settling a dispute over Carry Guard. The National Rifle Association and its longtime insurance partner are settling a legal fight over the fate of the controversial self-defense insurance program called Carry Guard, Alex Yablon reports. Court records show that a judge has accepted a joint motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the NRA against Lockton in May after the company cut ties with the gun group following action by New York State regulators.
The Trump administration will soon announce a bump stock ban, CNN reports. The move comes more than a year after the Las Vegas massacre, in which a gunman used 13 rifles outfitted with the aftermarket devices. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will reportedly prohibit the production, sale, and possession of bump stocks by categorizing them as machine guns under the National Firearms Act. Context: How bump stocks work.
The accused Russian agent Maria Butina could be close to a plea deal. In a joint court filing on Wednesday, Butina’s lawyers and federal prosecutors wrote that they “remain optimistic about a pretrial resolution” of her case. Butina is charged with acting as an unregistered Russian agent. By cozying up to the NRA, she allegedly gathered intelligence on American political officials and organizations.
The suspected Alabama mall shooter has been arrested. Law enforcement officials say a suspect wanted in connection with a deadly shooting at an Alabama mall on Thanksgiving has been taken into custody. The 20-year-old man is accused of shooting a teenage shopper during an argument. A 12-year-old bystander was also injured in the shooting, and Emantic “EJ” Bradford Jr., a 21-year-old Army combat engineer, was fatally shot by police in the aftermath. Police originally identified Bradford as the shooter. They have since apologized to his family, but the city’s handling of the aftermath has sparked outrage and protests. Community members and a city councilperson are now calling for state authorities to release bodycam and mall surveillance footage of the shooting.
Washington, D.C., passed a red flag law. The city council voted unanimously to approve a measure that would allow a household member or a law enforcement officer to petition the court to temporarily remove a firearm from someone deemed threatening to themselves or others.
Dick’s Sporting Goods saw a dip in gun sales. Executives from the retail chain reported an overall 3.9 percent drop in sales last quarter, driven by losses in its hunting and electronics departments. The sales slump comes after Dick’s stopped stocking assault-style rifles and high-capacity magazines and raised its minimum age for gun purchases to 21 following the Parkland shooting. The general softening of the gun market may be helping to drive the decline in Dick’s gun business, USA Today notes.
A 19-year-old woman was shot 20 times on a New Jersey street. The Tuesday afternoon shooting, which police believe was targeted, has left residents of Trenton on edge. “I’m scared. I’m nervous. I don’t know if it could happen where I’m at,” one said. Police say they are searching for two suspects.
A North Carolina man shot his 21-year-old son in a dispute about NFL players kneeling for the national anthem. The shooting happened during an alcohol-fueled family argument in a suburb of Raleigh. The 51-year-old father was charged with aggravated assault.
ONE LAST THING
Deaths by suicide continue to climb. Last year, 47,173 people died by suicide, the highest number in more than a decade, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. From 1999 through 2017, the age-adjusted suicide rate increased 33 percent. About half of all suicide deaths are by firearm.
There is evidence that policies like extreme risk protection orders could reduce suicide. A study of civil gun seizures in Connecticut and Indiana this year found that when people in those states pursued the orders, rates of suicide fell by 13.7 percent.